My dog Ryder hit the jackpot on our walk today: a big, juicy bone! Watching him attack it, I realized what total commitment is: he pawed it, chewed it, crunched it, munched it, and then licked the grass to be sure he’d swallowed every little morsel. Finally, he actually dug a little hole in the ground to be sure that not a smidge escaped him. Now that’s total focus, total dedication!
Ryder’s awesome attack and immersion in the job at hand reminded me of something I just heard in my good friend and mentor Rob Gilbert’s sports psychology class. I was there enjoying some pizza in celebration of the NY Giants’ big victory when Rob and his co-teacher, John McCarthy, started talking about a former student of theirs named Gian-Paul Gonzalez. He sounds like an amazing young guy. In his mid-20s, he started a foundation called 4-one.org aimed at using sports to help kids.
Gian-Paul recently scored a big win with the Giants. When he was asked to give the team an inspirational talk, he handed every player a poker chip and then told them, “Sometimes we’ve got to step up and be all in. You have to be willing to say, ‘I’m going to risk it all and bet everything.’”
The Giants embraced the idea. For many of them, being “all in” meant total commitment at practice and on game days. It meant putting everything they had into every game — leaving it all on the field.
“All in” — it’s a great concept for us as well. As writers, like everyone else, we have a choice to make: Are we going to give full effort or run at half-speed. “There’s only one decisions you have to make: Are you going to go all out or hold back?” Rob Gilbert is fond of saying this on his Success Hotline (973.743.4690) — and I’ve taken it to heart.
Every day, I’ve decided to show up to the page intending to give my writing everything I have. Some days, I’m in the zone and some days, I struggle. But my goal is to end every writing session feeling that I’ve used every ounce to creativity in me. I’m not there yet by any means: I have still have days when my energy isn’t all that high and I’m easily distracted. But just having the goal of going all out is really motivating me to go farther. It’s a great feeling when I can look back and say, “Wow! I really pushed forward today.”
How about you? What’s your choice? Are you going to go all out or hold back? Write on!